I have to admit, I was resistant to this decade spanning story of young love found, then lost, then found again, and I still have a few reservations about it, but Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams more than make up for it. Their presence is electric, and their chemistry tangible, which lends credulity to a love story that could easily fall through the manhole of reality and into the sewer of sentimental pap. Gosling is a genius of his craft, playing gutsy roles to such amazing, even unnerving perfection, and McAdams exudes the kind of sincerity that melts the heart. Their characters seem made for each other, except for one little problem. Noah (Gosling) is poor and Allie (McAdams) is rich. And Allie’s mommy and daddy don’t like that at all. How will he ever get the girl of his dreams back? Writing letters everyday and fixing up an old farmhouse to her exact specifications seems like a start. When I put it that way, it sounds like it will activate the old gag reflex, but Cassavetes treats his subject with a tender care that refuses to get too syrupy. Sam Shepard and James Marsden are pitch perfect, and when you have a great supporting cast, magical things can happen. Just look at Andrew Dominik’s gem, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, or Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker that came out this summer.